Business Thoughts

Tips on How to (Comcastically) Use Twitter to Monitor Your Reputation Online

Social Media & Customer Service Lessons from the Cable Giant

Prior to joining SEER, I spent almost six years working for Comcast. The instant anyone found that out, I would be bombarded with questions and (too often) complaints about the service they’d received previously. To this day, I still get calls from friends asking why their DVR no longer records their favorite program. People just want to know that someone’s listening.

When I read about a Comcast employee reaching out to fellow blogger Michael Arrington over the weekend, I thought it was absolutely brilliant. For anyone not familiar with the story, Michael had an outage and started posting about it on Twitter, just to rant about the problems he was dealing with. Imagine his surprise when Comcast actually called him twenty minutes later to help fix the problem he was having. It turns out a manager at Comcast, Frank Eliason aka @comcastcares, has taken to monitoring mentions of Comcast on Twitter and has slowly and quietly been responding to people for the past six months – a revolutionary idea and a brilliant way to actively connect with customers. This was picked up all over the blogosphere, and was even written about in one of my favorite sites – The Consumerist.

I spoke to Frank about the work he was doing and how he was changing the customer service industry. The most amazing thing for me to hear is that he’s manually tracking, reading, and responding to these Twitters on his own, as Comcast didn’t expect this service to become public knowledge for some time. Frank explained that “the challenge to the publicity is that we must be seen, when in the past we were a little more quiet reaching out when we could. We know we need to improve, and this is a small part of that effort.”

So what can you, as a company owner, learn from Comcast’s example?

  • Create a Twitter account – Not only can you connect with people quickly, but you may have access to people in your industry that you never expected to get to communicate with.
  • Set up Twitter tracking – This can be done in several ways. Through your Twitter account, you can set up tracking on IM or SMS with a simple “track @rachael823” command. You can also use sites like to show you history of the term you’re searching for.
    • Smart business owners would track their personal name, company name, domains, competitors’ names, and even top keywords for their industry to see who’s talking about anything related to them.
  • Do this across all social media sites and blogs.
  • Set up Google Alerts to notify you when any of these terms come up.
  • If anyone is talking about you, positive or negative, it’s such an easy task to reach out to them, especially on Twitter. How long does it take you to type 140 characters? The effect that effort has on the recipient is well worth it.

Media Bullseye had a great question: Where is everyone else? Is anyone out there already taking action to monitor their reputation online through social media channels?